FCC releases National Broadband Plan

The FCC has unveiled the National Broadband Plan whose goal is to ensure every American has access to broadband. The plan addresses broadband competition, reallocating spectrum for mobile broadband, reforming universal service regulations and nudging public schools, health care providers and government agencies to make maximum use of broadband. You can download the National Broadband Plan from the FCC website (PDF).

I read parts of the National Broadband Plan and was impressed by its ambition and scope, but after a few pages, I lost my patience. As long as the incumbents exert a disproportionate influence members of Congress and the Senate through their multi-million dollar lobbying efforts, nothing will happen on a national scale.

I believe that local government initiatives such as the Lafayette fiber network, and projects initiated by private companies such as Google with its fiber experiment, will have a far greater impact on the speed and cost of broadband delivered to Americans.

The only thing that will bring high-speed broadband at a low cost to the US is this: force the incumbents to share their copper and fiber networks with other service providers on a non-discriminatory basis AND set the prices for wholesale, as they do in Europe. That’s it.

Everything else is useless, time-wasting babble.


  1. Anders Comstedt says

    Absolutely! Your comment is hitting the big hole in the paper having, IMHO, a misleading title. This is not a plan for change, to quickly catch up. Even if there is a lot of “beta” disclaimers. This is a good and comprehensive framing of a discussion about how to narrow down the specifications for a Plan. It is a listing of data, opinions and (shared) values, prior to getting into the controversial areas: Dealing with the necessary change that will shift power and value. So, pretty comprehensive as a catalogue, but boring and disappointing if you were looking for real change now.
    As for European policy makers, didn’t we have the same tip-toeing toddler initially as they got close to really interfering with the cosy situation of the vested business interests? Took us a good decade. Let’s face it, the US is not ready for a structural separation debate at this point. The ambition all over the NBP is still to hope for fiber overbuilds or new wireless something to solve all problems of lacking competitive infrastructure, middle mile as last 500ft. Didn’t European policy makers have the same futile infrastructure competition hope for a long time? And some still do? The difference is that serious US debate on these issues will begin with this paper, not come to a conclusion. Why expect the US, also for the other reasons you just gave, to leap frog?
    That fiber overbuilds are commercially hopeless as networks mature, and where that is taking us on lower network layers, should have had a more prominent place in the paper.
    This is just the end of the beginning…

  2. http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/CG72681.htm

    Motorola’s Fixed Wireless Broadband Solutions Bring High-Speed Internet Connectivity to Hardee County
    PR Newswire
    Rapid Systems Helps Businesses and Residents Bridge the Digital Divide and Stimulate Economic Development with Reliable and Secure Wireless Broadband Network